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Wednesday, 02 September 2020 07:00

Hungry for the Word of God

2020.29.Hungering for the Word of God main blog image

Recently in a Sunday homily, Fr Dan Serratore encouraged us to use the time of not being able to attend Mass and receive communion as an opportunity to fall in love with the Scriptures – the word of God – in a new way. I was really struck by this, and in the following days in my ministry in Youth Justice, I had two profound encounters with young people who were hungry for the word of God, perhaps for the first time in their lives. This really inspired me to turn in a new way once again to the scriptures myself, so I share these encounters with you, praying that they may also lead you back to the Word of God in a fresh way.

I had been sitting with two young women talking about the bible when Sarah* came quietly over and sat beside me. As the other girls moved away, she began telling me her father was a very religious man and that as she was growing up, he would often place a bible beside her bed, encouraging her to read it. She said she had no interest and would move it, finding some place in her house to hide it away, but that it was never long before another new bible found its way back to beside her bed.

Sarah then told me she wanted something to read in times of lock-down in her room and asked if I could give her a ‘beginner’s bible’. I took her one, marked with some suggested places to start reading – a couple of psalms, and a few stories of Jesus encountering people. A few days later when I returned, Sarah told me she had spent a lot of time reading, and that she really liked the psalms. We talked about how they are like poetry or songs, and that they are expressions of a heart poured out to God. It has been a gift to journey with her, and to see the sprouting of the seeds planted by her earthly father as she was growing up, being lovingly nurtured by her heavenly Father at this time in her life.

Caleb is a young man who was born overseas. For several months, he has been coming to prayer services and he wears rosary beads around his neck. When I first offered him a bible, he said no. Recently though, I was in conversation with Caleb and another staff member, Michael. Michael started talking about reading the bible as a child, and asked if I had one I could give him. Caleb then asked me what the bible was about. I shared simply with him that it was the story of the love of God, relating it to the rosary he was wearing around his neck. He then told me he would like to read it and asked if I could get one in his first language as he finds English difficult to read. I am currently awaiting delivery of this bible and am looking forward to sharing it with Caleb when it arrives.

So whether you are currently able to attend Mass or not, perhaps today there is a simple yet profound call to turn to the scriptures in a new way. Let the Lord speak his words of love to you in a new way.

 (note – all names have been changed)

Mel Edwards